Happ(ier) New Year

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m home alone, writing and wishing I had a cup of coffee within reach. My husband has taken the kids to a nearby book store so they can spend some of their Christmas money and I can work uninterrupted, without the sound of Hatchimal babies and BeyBlade battles in the background. (He will also bring home coffee, which is why I married him.) I took a week off over the holidays but now it’s Monday and I’m back on my grind, even if it’s New Year’s Eve. I’ll probably work part of tomorrow, too, which is fine because what is New Year’s Day if not a quiet time to do whatever you want? A little lazy pyjama time, maybe some winter hiking with the kids, then back to my work week and (maybe) my book.

This was a big year for me. I actually published fewer articles than I normally do, not because I was being rejected suddenly but because I was really focused on completing a draft of my book. I pitched less often, wrote fewer stand-alone pieces and published half of what I did the year before. I worried that people would forget about me, because so much of what I was writing was tucked away in Scrivener instead of out there on the Internet. There were some pieces, of course – I wrote for my old standbys, favourites like SavvyMom and The Mabelhood, who are always so good to me – and I made it onto Scary Mommy a few times. I did some sponsored posts that paid well but didn’t have my name on them (these are always a bit of a gift, honestly, as my bank account needed them more than my portfolio did). I also pitched to some major print and online publications, but more on that later.

The first half of the year was very productive, and I set the ambitious goal of completing v1 of my book by the end of summer (hard deadline: the end of 2018). And then my grandpa got sick, and everything stopped. I didn’t write much of anything for months, caught up in his illness and then my grief.

Needless to say, I didn’t meet my self-imposed book deadline. What has been the best professional year of my life and has been the hardest personally, and I’m still reeling. That said, I started writing again a few weeks after my grandfather’s death, and am back on the horse with the book (just like he’d want me to be). My pace has slowed somewhat, but I feel myself gaining steam and confidence again. I am laughing more and feeling more like myself, and my words show that. I’ve set a new deadline, reached out to book agents and am working toward my end goal.

So this is what I want in 2019, and I’m sharing it with all of you now because that makes it real. I cannot ignore something I’ve said out loud or put out into the world so here we go, not resolutions but a clear list of goals, ambitions and as the lovely Leisse Wilcox would say, intentions (sign up to her free Love Letters so you can enjoy her wisdom as much as I do).

In 2019, I will finish my book. I will secure a literary agent (and hopefully a publisher) and have a clear plan for getting all of these tens of thousands of words into an actual book that people will buy and read and enjoy (and maybe harshly criticize because REAL LIFE).

In 2019, I will write consistently for the blogs I love. SavvyMom, Mabels, Scary Mommy, my own website. I wrote so much for these websites in 2017 but in 2018, my focus wavered and I gave them a lot less. Amazingly, they continue to welcome my work with open arms. I love these editors and publishers and appreciate them. In 2019, I will make the time to write more posts and as long as these places will have me, I’ll write for them.

In 2019, I will complete at least two post-grad classes. I am working toward a post-grad writing certificate from the University of Toronto, which involves taking about 6 classes plus a major project guided by a prof. I completed two classes last year and am signed up for another starting in February. Ideally, I’ll complete two or three courses in 2019 and get the certificate in 2020. Long term goals, guys!

In 2019, I will sleep more. Because between being a mom, being a writer and being an anxious human being with a lot of feelings, my sleep has never been good…but 2018 was especially brutal for my physical and mental health. My husband has been off work for the last ten days and I’ve never slept in more. It feels good. I’m going to try and get 7-8 hours a night in 2019. WISH ME LUCK. This feels like a harder goal than the whole book thing, honestly.

In 2019, I will be good to myself. I will say yes to what brings me and my family joy and no to things that are more obligation than anything else. I will travel and celebrate accomplishments and demonstrate gratitude and refuse to beat myself up for what DOESN’T go right because there’s always a way to move forward. I will breathe deeply. I will read more of the books on my nightstand and take long baths. I will go to concerts and visit friends. I will get my nails done as often as I want because it makes me feel good and that’s worth more than $17.

There’s more I want to do, obviously – family things, tons of stuff involving my kids and life things that are ongoing wants and dreams – but here are the goals you can hold me to in 2019. I’m on it and I’m ready.

Up next? The Invisible Workload of Motherhood: Part 2 (coming in January, IT HAD TO HAPPEN) and lots, lots more.

Love and light to everyone who reads this. Happy New Year to all, and a Happier New Year to those who need it. xoxo.

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